How does communal & tribal lifestyle contribute to the survival of human society in harsh desert conditions?
This question may cross your mind while visiting the deserts that spread over the most southern region in Israel & Jordan. It is a quiet, remote, and beautiful landscape, with a small scattered population.
Consolidation is the main characteristic of human societies here:
The communal Kibbutz life in Israel, and the traditional Bedouin tribe in Jordan.
During a 6 day-long cross borders adventure, we will visit the communities, meet the people, and enjoy the beauty of the desert landscape. We’ll travel across one of the most popular desert regions in the world, keeping away from tourist attractions, strolling off the beaten track.
Breaking out of the typical comfort of mass tourism, we’ll stay with the local people, eat traditional food, sleep overnight in locally managed accommodations, and get to know the culture by experiencing it.
Approaching the Eilot region in the southern Arava desert, we’ll tour Kibbutz Ketura, one of the 9 Kibbutz communities. What does it mean to live in a kibbutz – a form of communal living? What do people share and how? We’ll hear about it from one of the kibbutz members, eat in the communal dining room in Kibbutz Ketura, visit the local synagogue, and see some ecological initiatives in both Ketura and Lotan. We’ll stay overnight in the Kibbutz Ketura Guest house.
In the morning we’ll drive uphill to Kibbutz Neot Semadar, an unusual community in the desert. While visiting the impressive Art Center complex we’ll get to understand the intention behind the mutual life here.
After lunch made with the organic products that are grown and produced here, we will drive to Ma’aleh Shaharut to enjoy a spectacular panoramic view over the Rift Valley, and meet Yael Beit Av that offers an alternative method of self-sustainable life in the desert and the intention to preserve ancient Bedouin traditions.
We will stay overnight in the Kibbutz Lotan guesthouse.
Timna Park and the ancient copper industry will give us a clue about life in the desert in ancient times – a perspective from history.
We will visit the flamingo pools and the Eilat Birdwatching Park to hear about one of the most important global stations for bird’s migration. Noam, the park manager, will take us through an intimate glimpse into the life of the birds and will give us a wider understanding of this incredible phenomenon.
We will stay overnight in the Kibbutz Eliphaz guest house.
We will begin our day by crossing the border into Jordan and enjoying a local breakfast in Aqaba. Then we’ll drive to Rahmeh, meet the people of the village and ride in their 4X4 vehicles for a tour in the El Nehailah dunes and canyons.
A picnic lunch cooked at home by the women of the village will be served in the open desert.
A scenic road will take us uphill to Ammarin camp near Little Petra, where we’ll spend the night. Ammarin camp is owned by the Ammarin tribe, who established a communal touristic initiative. We’ll enjoy home-made dinner made by the women of the tribe, meet the men, and watch a traditional dance. We will stay overnight in the Ammarin camp.
After breakfast in the camp we’ll take a hike in the spectacular sandstone landscape of the region. Guided by a member of the tribe, we’ll get to know some of the local plants and their traditional uses.
A picnic lunch will be cooked onsite together with tribe members. We’ll learn how to make Bedouin bread and taste the Arbut, a unique local delicacy. We’ll enjoy hands-on activities such as weaving and Kohl. (natural eyeliner)
After a stroll through the Little Petra Canyon, with its Nabatian ancient rock tombs, we’ll departure and drive to Wadi Rum.
Falleh and his family will build an original Bedouin tent for us, in the midst of the desert, and they will host us during the visit to wadi Rum. In the evening we will enjoy a Zarb dinner with the family. (Zarb is a dish cooked underground, in the sand).
After a short morning walk, we’ll eat breakfast in the tent, having another chance to polish our Pita bread making qualifications under the guidance of the women from the Falleh’s family.
The rest of the day will combine hiking and Jeep rides across the less known parts of Wadi Rum. We’ll climb sandstone arches, slide down the dunes into the canyons, and see some rock engravings. Here, we’ll visit a hidden hut with a Rabbaba musician.
For lunch we’ll drive to Falleh’s home. Fadda, Falleh’s wife, is an excellent cook, and after a delicious lunch we’ll tour their garden and farm.
We will end the trip with a short visit to the Disi Women’s Association for Ceramics. Here we’ll hear from Um Lais, the manager, about this initiative, and about the modern life of women in the Bedouin society.
Just before leaving Jordan we’ll sweeten our departure with a visit to the best Baklawa shop in Aqaba….
Price for the full 6 days trip is $1746
- This price is for a minimum group size of 20 people
- Accommodations are in double rooms together with one roommate or more.
- In the Bedouin tent, we’ll divide by gender.
The price includes:
- Full room/tent and board, full transportation in Eilot region and Jordan. Pick up and drop off will be in Eilat city.
- Entrance fees, visa to Jordan, activities, border crossing fees, guides, a translator from Arabic to English, a local group manager
The price does not include:
- Personal Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
What is needed:
- A passport valid for at least 6 months
- Personal travel insurance
Changes in the program may occur according to weather, season, and consideration of the guides.
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